They knew these preventers of cancer and heart disease were in colorful fruits and vegetables and nuts, but recently researchers have uncovered them in new, unexpected places. "The number and variety of these kamikaze substances we find in foods continue to grow," says Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, of the American Dietetic Association.
And that's a good thing, experts say, because upping your antioxidant intake from as many sources as possible is more beneficial than getting them from just a few highly publicized foods. "Don't just eat blueberries every day and think you're covered," says Joe Vinson, PhD, an analytical chemist at the University of Scranton who specializes in measuring antioxidant levels of foods. "When you eat a diverse diet, you get the entire spectrum of benefits they deliver." Here, 8 places your antioxidants are hiding.
1. Whole Grain PastaWhole grain versions of pasta (whole wheat should be listed as the first ingredient) have 3 times more antioxidants than enriched or refined varieties, found Vinson's study at the University of Scranton. He and his team compared the enriched or refined with the whole grain versions of three spaghetti brands.
"Many epidemiological studies show that the consumption of whole grains can reduce the risk of heart disease," he says. "We used to think this was because of the fiber sweeping out the cholesterol, but it's looking more like it's the polyphenols' positive effect on blood pressure and other markers of heart health that deserve the credit." The concentrations of antioxidants in whole grain flour used to make wheat pasta are comparable to those found in fruits and veggies.